EPA Orders Testing for Highly Toxic Dioxins at Ohio Derailment Site
Norfolk Southern must test the Ohio derailment area for dioxins
On March 2, 2023, after weeks of questions about contamination associated with a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered rail company Norfolk Southern to test the area for dioxins, a dangerous and persistent class of pollutants created when plastic is burned. The train that crashed there Feb. 3 was carrying chemicals used to make plastics.
A chorus of academics, environmentalists and residents have been raising the alarm about potential dioxin contamination because, days after the derailment, authorities seeking to avoid an explosion purposefully released and burned the chemical vinyl chloride, a key component of PVC plastic.
While EPA officials said monitoring for related chemicals around East Palestine suggests a "low probability" of dioxin contamination, Administrator Michael Regan said the agency is directing the railroad to conduct testing for the pollutants based on concerns from the community.
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